The Unsent Letter

By Moseka Phiona

Dear Father, Dad, Philip,

I do not know how many times I have written letters to you and decided to shred them into pieces. I still do not know what to call you, should I call you father? But you do not seem like my father to me. It is heartbreaking to have a father out there in the world not knowing what he looks like or what his voice sounds like. If we ever pass paths on the streets will I be able to recognize you or will you be able to recognize me? I wonder if we resemble each other in the slightest, did I inherit my dark skin and big eyes from you? Because no one at home resembles me, what about our personalities, do they align? I have an old soul, do you have one too? I have always tried to picture your face and imagine what you look like, but it’s always blurry and that frustrates me, never knowing what you look like. Maybe I will never get to know and I am trying to make my peace with that. You are not my father.

Should I call you dad? But you have not been a dad to me. A dad is supposed to take care of his little girl but you did not do that. I remember coming home from school that day and I had been crying because all my friends were picked up from school by their dads and I wanted that so bad. So with anger and pain I reached home and asked mama where you were and why you did not want me, do you understand what that does to a child? You did not raise me, you ran away or maybe walked away and in turn I became the child that seeked affection and craved it but got too scared to accept it. You broke me even before I knew your name

Should I call you Philip? 10 years ago I found out you were called Phillip. Mama told me your name after the multiple outbursts we had, somehow it makes me hate being called Phiona because I feel that’s an attachment to you that I will forever have. And to this day I try not to let your name break me anymore, I keep saying your name multiple times until it stops hurting as much when I hear it. If only your name could be non-existent, I’d probably be happier.

I became a teenager and sought love in the wrong places and I did not step out of line, I never asked questions and always accepted the bare minimum for fear of rejection. You put that in my head even without having met you,

I have doubted my worth so many times because I keep asking myself, if my father did not want me then how could I ever be worthy enough for any man to want me? Oh well I saw and felt that the first time a man forced himself on me and told me how worthless I was. You were not there to protect me.

.I’ll never know what it feels like to be a safe girl in the world,
I’ll never know what it feels like to have someone stand up for me when my heart is in turmoil,
I’ll never know how to give or receive love comfortably.

I’ve written too many times and now I’ll save this as a draft so I can heal from my childhood trauma that you put me through. I will never get the energy to send these to you even after I’ve gone through the trouble of finding out where you live. At the end of the day I know you do not care. I’ve lived my life searching for you, asking for you, pleading to get your attention but I won’t do that anymore. This is the last time I’m writing to you because I am tired and exhausted from chasing a living ghost.

And now I release you, with a full heart, with love for the place you once held in my life. May you be happy in the life you have chosen. I now take back all the energy that has been taken from me or that I have given away and I return all the energy that I still hold from you. May I be free from the ties that bind us. May all cords be cut. It’s time I made space for the new people in my life.

Goodbye Father, Dad, Philip,

Stranger, Lost girl, Phiona.


2 April, 2023